The Water Diviner with Russell Crowe


Written by Nigel Percy


A Dowsing Movie?

“The Water Diviner” is a movie made by an A-list actor (who is also the director), and backed by much money, which not only openly refers to the skill, but allows it to be shown in a sympathetic way. Not bad for a change.

I'm not going to review the whole movie, because there are plenty of people much better equipped than myself who can do that much better. All I'll say in passing is that I really enjoyed it a great deal and that well over 400 reviewers on Amazon are in agreement. The combined reviews there make it a 4-star effort.

“The Water Diviner” as dowsing…

What I would like to say is that I was (obviously) very interested in how dowsing (or divining) was shown in the movie. It was a different and pleasant experience.

For example, near the beginning, it shows Crowe's character, Conor, dowsing to find where to dig a well. As it's in the Australian outback, the need for water, reliable water, is pressing. The L-rods he uses are battered and bent pieces of thin-ish wire which cross over a particular place. He then proceeds to start digging.

Eventually he strikes water (or what would be the point of the title otherwise?) and happiness all around, except for his wife who… well, I'll let you watch that part for yourself.

Set just after the end of the First World War, “The Water Diviner” is based on the fact that, out of all the families who lost members in the fighting, only one Australian father went to try to find what happened.

For me, when Conor finally locates the place where his sons fell was most interesting. No rods in use, just a very simple deviceless dowsing method (I won't spoil it for you), before telling them where to dig.

It is an unusual method of dowsing and I did wonder how Russell Crowe learned it. Despite the obvious emotional issues at work, “The Water Diviner” at that point also showed how detached he was during the actual dowsing, as a good dowser has to be.

Although dowsing only takes up a small part of the entire film, I think that “The Water Diviner” is of interest to dowsers generally and to historians (my other love) of that period. For example, I never really thought about what the War Graves Commission work actually involved. I have immense respect for them now!

I can't think of any other film which treats dowsing in as sympathetic a light as “The Water Diviner” and, for that reason alone, I suggest you watch it if you haven't already. Certainly add it to your library.

Have you watched “The Water Diviner”? If so, what are your thoughts on it? Like it? Loathe it? Let us know in the comments section below.


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